Money from COFAG – Bankruptcy Kika/Leiner: the taxpayer “cheats”


A large part of the 150 million euros in obligations at Kika/Leiner are tax deferrals. The fact that there was money (five million euros) from COFAG is now also causing criticism.

The bankruptcy of Kika/Leiner is also costing the taxpayer dear: according to reports, a large part of the approximately €150 million in liabilities is due to tax deferrals. Since the furniture retailer strives for a quota of 20 percent, the Tax and Customs Administration will probably miss out on 80 percent.

Other creditors, such as banks, are likely to be able to cancel most of their claims. The restructuring process will be officially opened on Tuesday and a receiver will be appointed. Then there are new details.

The fact that, according to the transparency portal, Kika/Leiner received more than five million euros in aid from COFAG during the corona crisis also caused quite a stir. This is also tax money.

Observer: Not surprising
From the point of view of industry observers, the announced restructuring procedure comes as no surprise. The furniture chain has been in the red since the acquisition by Signa Holding in 2018. Money was also recently paid to keep the chain afloat. In Benko’s first year as owner, Kika/Leiner reported a loss of 50 million euros, according to WirtschaftsCompass. Turnover fell to 414 million euros. Turnover fell further in 2019 and 2020. Official figures for the previous year are not yet available.

Signa took over 46 branches in Austria. Kika/Leiner now has 40. “From the point of view of the Signa Group, the acquisition of Kika/Leiner was a very good investment, despite the difficult market environment,” the company recently said.

Those branches that are closing were literally stormed on Friday – because of a 30 percent discount on everything. There were traffic jams at the Leiner in Amstetten, in Steyr there was block processing at the entrance at noon. Many wanted to redeem vouchers. New owner Hermann Wieser does promise that vouchers will remain valid. He wants to take responsibility.

Criticism and Benko
Criticism has been voiced in connection with the bankruptcy, including investor Rene Benko. He acquired the operating company for a symbolic euro and also sold it to Herbert Wieser for a symbolic euro. Benko has now sold the remaining properties of the group for 350 million euros to investor Supernova. Shortly after joining in 2018, he sold 22 Kika locations in Eastern Europe to competitor XXXLutz.

Source: Krone


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